Mental health

All posts tagged Mental health

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By Staff Writer – The Survival Place Blog

One tidbit of wisdom which all interested in outdoor living understand – living in the hive can be bad for your health. The biggest cities often draw the zaniest and most odd characters. It’s not hard to understand why. Large cities, particularly the mega-cities which are fairly recent developments, seem to foster a sense of mental displacements. The environment is very artificial, so it’s not hard to see why. Sometimes, withdrawing from all of that difficulty is something you absolutely need, as a fundamental aspect of healing your soul.

We’re not trying to disparage the good work done in cities, or the great people who live in them. However, we are critical of those who feel that inner city living is perfectly fine and naturally in a long-term perspective. Nothing will ever be as healing for our human spirit and psyche than a long sting in the forest or wood. Recalibrating to the natural creative power from which you come can heal even the most chaotic of hearts.

If you find yourself struggling, or simply need a break which works for you, you might consider a long hike or camping stint in the woods. We have detailed the benefits of doing so below. Sometimes, survival preparation is as important as restoring your own mind to the natural pace of life.

No Mirrors

Mirrors are great inventions. They help us manage our appearance, staying attractive to those we hope to attract. They let us know if we have any misplaced food on our lip, or if we mishandled our shaving process in the morning, leaving half our moustache intact. However, it can become an almost obsession to keep looking in the mirror throughout the day, rectifying your appearance as you see a flaw.

This leads to a constant state of tension and worry. If you head to the woods and neglect bringing any mirrors with you, you’ll notice something wonderful. Not only do you forget about your appearance, but you become more connected to yourself and your present experience. You become more able to show your real personality, as opposed to one you’re carefully curating throughout the day. This can be revolutionary for mental health, as peace of mind is improved when you’re neglecting to focus on your flaws.

Good Survival Practice

You might be a newcomer to this blog. If you understand the benefits of preparing or having a modicum of survival knowledge, you’re in the right place. However, you can’t expect to jump in the deep end, surviving in the Amazon for months at a time. It’s good to start slow. If you’ve lived in a city for the majority of your life, some concepts might be completely new to you. Connecting with your raw human ability to survive surely helps you connect with the inner knowledge of our species.

You’ll feel a primal sense of achievement after building a shelter, or starting a fire for the first time. This time will also serve as a great opportunity to build a bug out bag. This rugged approach to task achievement feels much more satisfying than working with accounts all day, or facing a customer service role. It’s likely that the experience of the outdoors will give you a desire to work in the forest more and more, and get out of the hive as often as you can.

Living away from the hive for a time can give you a real revolution in your internal thinking, and improve your mental matters to no end. You’ll never know if you don’t try.

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The stress response our body goes through when we encounter a dangerous situation is largely automatic. Chemical reactions occur and hormones are released, causing involuntary responses that increase your resistance to pain, increase strength and endurance, and even improve your body’s ability to clot wounds. However, relying on purely instinctual reactions in any kind of dangerous situation can cause you to behave foolishly even in situations where the solution is obvious because stress clouds your mind. Therefore, it is extremely valuable to learn how your stress reactions work so that you can combine your improved capabilities with intelligent action.

How your body responds to stress

In order to properly control the fight-or-flight reaction, let’s look at how it works.

First, the body recognizes a threat: it can be anything from a visual danger (someone pointing a gun or knife at you) to something audible (an explosion, car crash, even tree limbs snapping during a storm). Some threats are natural responses that most people have, like seeing flames racing towards you, while others are cultural or learned responses such as aggressive gestures. Certain emotions can also trigger a response if they become strong enough, particularly fear and anger.

Second, your brain immediately begins switching over to “combat mode”, temporarily focusing only on needed functions to allow you to deal with a threat to your life.

  • The adrenal gland sends adrenaline coursing through you, and the hormone You may not turn green, but in many ways your stress reactions can turn you into The Hulk.cortisol is produced in much larger amounts in order to help the body rapidly break down fat and glucose into immediately usable sources of energy.
  • The heart begins pumping blood faster and blood is shunted from less important areas of the body to the muscles in order to give them increased strength and endurance.
  • The muscles themselves reflexively begin tensing up, preparing for any needed action, and the blood clotting mechanism of the body goes into overdrive in order to rapidly close wounds sustained during the conflict.
  • The pupils of the eyes begin to dilate in order to draw as much light in as possible and improve eyesight, and the pores of your body will open up and allow for increased sweat to keep you cooler during heightened physical exertion.

In short, the body “hulks out” and draws energy from normal maintenance activities and immune system response in order to give strength to your muscles and improved senses.

Of course, these are the positives of that response. The immediate negatives also become present soon after, including:

  • Tunnel vision and loss of hearing. Humans are largely visually oriented and so the other senses are drowned out during stress response. Increased pupil dilation gives more information but the brain begins pushing aside irrelevant information in order to focus on the threat. This results in a loss of peripheral vision in extreme cases, making you prone to ignoring important visual cues (such as a hidden accomplice or an environmental hazard) if it is not immediately obvious.Anyone who's tracked a wounded deer knows how far a flight reaction can carry it even with a mortal wound.
  • Temporary ability to ignore important wounds. Although true pain immunity doesn’t happen the body’s response to pain is deadened temporarily in order to focus on bringing the threat down or fleeing from it. Although this is somewhat of a positive, it can make it difficult to self-diagnose even severe wounds like broken bones until you calm down somewhat. It can also lead to overestimation of your own ability to fight in an extended battle even if you’re really about to collapse from blood loss.
  • Enhanced emotions, including negative ones. If you have ever known someone who could become so mad that they would actually harm people, you have probably seen this reaction. Enhanced fear can result in “deer-in-the-headlights” situations, while enhanced anger or aggression can cause an otherwise mild situation to escalate rapidly. Furthermore, they can impair judgement in important situations: if one of those thugs you’re fighting just shot a friend or family member stress may bring a hearty bloodlust front and center which could keep you from acting on a solid plan of defense. If you need to move immediately out of the way of an oncoming truck or other vehicle fear may cause you to run directly away from it instead of behind nearby vehicle-proof barriers.
  • Perception of actions taken becomes skewed. In a stressful situation you may think an action occurred (say a friend was knocked out by a tree limb) and your overtaxed brain will actually use your imagined scenario to form a very real memory, even if the event never actually happened. Some police officers have begun frantically searching for bullet wounds in comrades who are yelling at him that they are not hit, because the officer thought he saw his friend go down. This can result in situations where you may believe that people have been cared for when they have not, or that members of your family have been rescued from a nasty situation when they are still pinned down.
  • Loss of fine motor control. Although many of these negatives have been perception oriented, this one is very much physical. Although rougher actions like pulling a trigger, running for your life, or throwing a punch should still function the ability to perform small fine movements will be strongly impaired. Shaky hands are often one sign of this lack of control, as the body is not able to hold those muscles still properly.

How to overcome the negatives so the positives can work for you

The answer to controlling this reaction is generally reduced to one thing: training. Short of being able to charge into a war zone or some other real-life deadly situation you won’t be able to get your body used to that level of stress, so you need to train yourself to reduce the sensory overload and be able to take charge of the situation. Reflexive actions that work around weaknesses tunnel vision, loss of fine motor control, and enhanced anger or fear allow you to function even when your conscious mind is still reeling.

Much like a new driver, you will have to learn to handle the little details automatically so that your brain can focus on major problems.

In a similar way, you need to train your response when you encounter a dangerous situation. This is why many trainers include periods where you don’t act, but gather information so you can understand how to act. If you’re trained to find threats, analyze dangers and probable solutions, innocents caught in the crossfire etc you will still do these things even if the situation itself is overwhelming. If your analysis tells you to draw a weapon and fire, you want to know your weapon well enough to do so without needing to think about the mechanics of drawing, aiming, and firing. Your mind will already be occupied with ensuring civilians aren’t in the line of fire, that you have adequate cover or concealment, how many rounds you have left, and more.

Many firefighters, police officers, soldiers (particularly medics), and various other emergency personnel have often been reported to say something to the effect of “the situation became serious and I started to panic, but then my training kicked in”. They’re referring to that automatic response that drove them to understand the hazards, save innocents, and if needed terminate threats. They still had to exercise their conscious mind to make decisions, but their training put the restricted capacity of their mind in limited, familiar territory that gave them a sense of calm and control in a disastrous situation.

The training that can help

It’s far beyond the scope of a simple blog post to go into the exact training needed for any situation. After all, all the firearms knowledge and training in the world isn’t going to give you a full picture of what is needed to fight fires and save people from burning buildings. However, there are two general principles that apply across the board:

  • General practices in order to generate specific responses. No amount of training gives you full knowledge of what will happen in a dangerous situation, but it will give you parameters to understand and deal with things in the immediate timeframe. A medic focuses on finding the most dangerous wounds and preventing loss of life, then loss of important functions and limbs, then dealing with the more minor wounds regardless of the source. He may learn 30 different techniques for patching up wounds based on what caused them or what kind of damage they sustained, but it’s all focused on general principles like “stop the bleeding”, “keep the spine stable to prevent further damage”, and “prevent infections”. This allows you to create simpler pathways in your mind that let you focus on a narrow band of choices. Instead of running around panicking you can carefully break things down and continuously choose from small pools of 5-6 actions that can be taken, which helps keep you on task.
  • A point where you evaluate the situation. Depending on the problem this may occur at various points in the roadmap you’re making for your brain, but there should always be an evaluation point where you are forced to slow down and use your conscious mind to determine what should be done. Medics look over a patient for a serious wound, defenders evaluate a situation after dealing with an immediate threat, and firefighters observe a fire in order to formulate the best way to get to trapped victims. Untrained people almost always react instinctively, running away or charging in rather than forming a plan and then acting on it. You want to at least understand what you’re going into before you choose!

The fight-or-flight instinct is extremely valuable when you’re trying to survive a deadly encounter. Make sure you’re properly trained to harness the advantages and mitigate the negatives so that you’ll be prepared for whatever comes! – Prepared For That

Your thoughts?

Can you think of other advantages or disadvantages to your stress responses? Are there other ways to harness its power to help you? Let us know in the comments.

dead

Preppers seem to be an intelligent, discerning bunch. They embrace individual responsibility, self-reliance, preparedness, and self-sufficiency. Very admirable traits indeed. My intention here is to shine some light on the foundation of many doomsday preppers – fear.

All fear is not bad. It’s a gift in many cases that has been passed down ancestrally.

Fear of our future has motived many of us to change our lifestyle. Too much fear paralyzes. Picture your health. You’re chilling on the sofa after work with remote in hand – feeling fine physically. An ad from the Industrial Pharmaceutical Complex interrupts compelling you to take action (and their newest wonder drug – which may cause anal seepage). Hum, as the thought bubble forms. I do remember not being able to remember the name of my co-worker’s daughter’s husband. Is this the onset of …. [fill in the blank]. I can put up with a bit of seepage if that pill can help me.

Then there’s the pesky problem of information overload. We’re drowning in a tsunami of threats, boogeymen, four-horsemen hype that would make for a bad day – even for the most prepared. Anxiety and hand wringing in the corner or buying the latest shiny object seem to be our only hope of survival for our species. Negative news sells. Who tunes into a local newscast with stories of families that made it home safely for dinner? No one. We rubberneck to see the disconnected devastation and destruction on our idiot tubes. We want to have our fear – and be happy too.

But we have to stay informed on all the potential S hitting the fan, right? There’s better ways to stay informed than faux news. I try to find a happy medium – staying informed – without succumbing to anxiety-induced anal seepage.

Last year our family experienced our own genuine, personal SHTF scenario. This was not a drill or practice session. DRG’s life was on the line. Discounting or overlooking real threats to our families is just plain stupid. Minimizing our risk in this preparedness game is all we can do. The first step would be to prioritize what’s really likely to happen in our individual situation.

I’m not your typical prepper – whatever that term implies. I don’t own a single gas mask. I know the three minutes without air rule. It’s just that, in my estimation, owning a chemical suit and gas mask is not a priority for our family now. Would I buy one if I thought breathable air was in short supply? Yes. But for now, my priority is to fry bigger fish – like water and food.

Here’s the good news! We don’t have to watch fear-based TV news to stay informed. No more throwing remotes or shoes at the talking heads on your screen. Online alternative news sites are everywhere. User beware. Some prepping sites fall into the fear, doom and gloom category. I’ve found that I was guilty of this myself in the early stages of this blog – fanning the flames of fear drives web traffic. Again, look for information that offers practical advise and steps to living a more simple life. A lot of “non-prepping” sites offer excellent information. Meaning, surf outside the prepping wave pool. I’m always interested in other non “prepper” sites y’all ‘Commentistas’ have discovered. Please, do tell!

Fear Itself (TV series)

How do we avoid the coffin that fear built

Put down the shovel and stop digging.

  • Relax. Take frequent breaks from the potential unknowns that keep you from sleeping. Health-destroying headlines top my list.
  • Turn off the TV. I use to be a news junkie. I’ve broken the addiction. I value my psychological health. Here’s a study that found that watching the news on television triggers persisting negative psychological feelings that could not be buffered by attention-diverting distraction (i.e., lecture), but only by a directed psychological intervention such as progressive relaxation.
  • Erase the hell-in-a-handbasket mindset. Bad stuff has happened in our time and to our ancestors – yet they prevailed.
  • Fire the worker bee in you. What if the secret to survival was to fire yourself? You’ve probably read the “What did you do to prep” threads on forums. If not, they’re easy to find. I sometimes get the impression that if you’re not doing something to prepare everyday that you’ll eventually get caught, um, unprepared. We have to escape the tyranny of the urgent – the daily grind. Well Mr. Knowitall, who’s going to do all that stuff ‘experts’ say are essential to survival? You will. But first, you must fire yourself. Go ahead. Step away form the food dehydrator. You could use the break, right? Take a weekend off to concentrate on your long-term plan. Act like a CEO, not a worker bee. Then, step-by-step, begin implementing your plan. Scurrying around full of fear is unproductive.
  • Focus on the main thing. Every trivial “news worthy” event has side-track potential. Your main thing may not be my main thing. Discover yours and focus your energy there.

What’s the next pandemic? I don’t know, and frankly, don’t care. Viewing life through the lens of fear shapes our future. Sadly, a lot is written in prepperdom that reinforces the panic-stricken mindset. My job is to decide what’s worth my time and energy. Standing over my coffin of fear with a shovel and dirty hands is not an option for me. Fear not.

How about you?

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple

Contributed by Todd Walker of Survival Sherpa.

mental health

In a pill-popping world, the idea of simply providing your brain and body with what it needs for mental health is nothing short of revolutionary.  1 in 5 Americans currently takes one or more psychiatric drugs on a daily basis.

Psychiatric medications are among the most widely prescribed and biggest-selling class of drugs in the US. In 2010, Americans spent $16.1 billion on anti-psychotics to treat depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, $11.6 billion on antidepressants and $7.2 billion on treatment for ADHD, according to IMS Health, which tracks prescription drug sales.  (Source)

Psychiatric drugs can cause many horrible side effects, some of which are worse than the original condition they were intended to treat.  In fact, there is a very clear link between psychiatric medications and the violent actions of the “mass shooters” over the past few years. In many cases, these drugs are harmful and unnecessary.

Caveat lector:  I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV.  The contents of this article are not meant to replace medical advice.  The data presented is for informational purposes only.

There is a theory that most (and some say all) mental illnesses are caused by nutritional deficiencies.  The brain is a miraculous creation that must be properly fueled in order to function correctly.  Feeding your brain (and body) empty chemically created calories is akin to putting diesel fuel into a gasoline engine.  It sputters and grinds to a halt, and the contamination must be thoroughly flushed out of the system for it to work properly again.  Vehicles come with differently shaped fuel-filler openings, to make it difficult to put in the wrong fuel.  Human beings, unfortunately, are not equipped with this type of mechanism and can therefore stuff anything and everything into their mouths and hope their body recognizes it as fuel.

Back to the brain….

The brain uses 20-30% of a person’s daily caloric intake for the day. If you don’t consume enough calories, verbal fluency, problem solving ability and motivation are affected first.  Then bodily functions are decreased in reverse order of necessity for life.

Your brain requires essential fatty acids to maintain proper function.  This is one of the many reasons that extreme low-fat diets are not healthy.  Fatty acids are required to maintain connections between neurons.  A lack of N3 (aka Omega-3) fatty acids may cause learning and motor disabilities, and may damage the passage of  dopamine and serotonin in the frontal cortex.  The most vital EFAs are 3, 6, and 9.

Dopamine and serotonin are both crucial to mental health.  Dopamine affects the brain processes that control voluntary movements, emotional responses, and the ability to register pleasure and pain.  Serotonin is known as the feel-good neurotransmitter.  This chemical is related to the ability to resist impulses.  Serotonin (or lack thereof) plays a major role in things like depression, suicide, impulsive behavior, mood control, and aggression.  The basic premise is that if these chemicals are not being properly transported in your brain, your mental health could suffer.

A lack of Vitamin D has been linked to depression, schizophrenia, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.  Research has suggested that Vitamin D is in actuality a neuroactive steroid, a chemical that is targeted by certain SSRI antidepressants.  A lack of Vitamin D can negatively affect the transport of Dopamine.  The best source of Vitamin D is sunlight absorbed through the skin.  This may explain the prevalence of depression in the winter, particularly in regions that receive less direct sunlight.

Niacin (Vitamin B3) is an effective treatment for depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and insomnia.  In the textbook Orthomolecular Psychiatry, David Hawkins, M.D. and Linus Pauling, Ph.D. outline the protocol for a niacin regimen for mental health.  Although this particular book targets the treatment of schizophrenia, the niacin treatment is the same for other mental health issues.  The body cannot store Niacin, so it’s important to take this supplement every day.  A great resource for information about Niacin can be found HERE.  Here’s how it works:

In the brain, low levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin are associated with depression. One of the building blocks of serotonin is the amino acid tryptophan, and one of the building blocks of tryptophan is niacin. Tryptophan also helps the body supply itself with niacin. If tryptophan is divided between serotonin production and niacin production, serotonin production is likely to be inadequate. Supplemental niacin and tryptophan can improve symptoms of depression. (Source)

Instructions for finding the correct dosage of Niacin can be found HERE.

 Other Mental Health Aids

There are loads of mental health remedies out there.  Some natural ones include HTTP-5, St. John’s Wort, valerian root and passionflower.  Many people swear by the efficacy of these herbs but few studies have been funded to confirm the validity of these claims.  (Think about it – it isn’t cost effective for the pharmaceutical companies because you can’t patent a plant!  Supplements containing tyrosine and phenylalanine are said to help with the transport of serotonin and dopamine, as well.

Other vitamins and minerals that are important to mental health are:  Vitamin E, Folate (another B vitamin), Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc, Chromium, B12 and B6.

Eating for Good Mental Health

The first line of defense against mental health issues should always be nutritional.  Take a good look at your diet and contemplate the fuel you are putting into your body.  Clean out the toxins, ditch the chemical “food-like substances” lurking in your home, and start with good solid nutrition from REAL sources.

Once you’ve made the required adjustments to your diet, start a food/mood journal.  It’s very likely you will begin to see a link between certain foods and your state of mind.  Around the holidays or when I’m on vacation, sometimes I’ve found myself in a funk, and generally speaking, I’ve been eating things I don’t normally consume.  Certain foods seem to trigger this for me, particularly commercial bread products.  You may discover that the issue is as much about what you avoid as it is about what you eat.

From a preparedness aspect, we know that if the SHTF, we will be undergoing a lot more stress than we do in our current day to day lives.  This tough time could be anything from a job loss to a natural disaster to an economic collapse.  It’s vitally important to stock up on foods that promote good mental health, as well as stockpiling vitamins and supplements that can assist you nutritionally in dealing with stressful situations.

Following are some sources of the most important nutrients for good mental health.  I take vitamins, but I take them as a SUPPLEMENT – meaning, I try very hard to meet my nutritional needs with food first and foremost.  The human body is a marvelous creation, and it works better when fueled with food and just “topped up” with vitamins.  This list is not meant to be comprehensive – it’s just a starting point for your pantry and garden planning.

Niacin

  • Meat
  • Spelt
  • Fish
  • Bran (Wheat and Rice)
  • Peanuts
  • Marmite
  • Beans

Vitamin D (There are few food sources of this – the #1 way to get it is synthesized from sunshine)

  • Egg Yolk
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Beef Liver
  • Cod Liver Oil
  • Swiss Cheese

EFAs

  • Nuts (Walnuts, Almonds, Peanuts, Pecans, Pistachio, Cashews, Hazelnuts, Macadamia)
  • Beef
  • Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
  • Hemp Seeds and Hemp Seed Oil
  • Avocados
  • Olives and Olive Oil
  • Oily Fish (Halibut, Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines, Tuna)
  • Flax Seeds
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp

Tyrosine

  • soy products (make sure they are organic!)
  • meat
  • fish
  • dairy
  • seaweed
  • egg whites

Vitamin E

  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Greens (Turnip Greens, Chard, Mustard Greens, Collards, Spinach)
  • Bell Peppers
  • Papaya
  • Asparagus
  • Almonds

Folate

  • Poultry
  • Venison
  • Potatoes
  • Cod
  • Halibut
  • Spinach
  • Bananas
  • Sunflower Seeds

Magnesium

  • Dark Chocolate
  • Molasses
  • Edamame (be sure it’s organic – high risk of GMOs, otherwise!)
  • Bran (wheat, rice and oat)
  • Squash and Pumpkin Seeds
  • Flax Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Almonds
  • Cashews

Calcium

  • Dairy Products (especially yogurt)
  • Sardines
  • Salmon
  • Tofu (organic!)
  • Collard Greens
  • Spinach
  • Molasses

Vitamin B12

  • Clams
  • Beef
  • Oysters
  • Poultry
  • Crab
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Zinc

  • Dark chocolate
  • Oysters
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Yogurt
  • Shitake Mushrooms
  • Peanuts
  • Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
  • Crab
  • Chicken
  • Wheat Germ
  • Kidney Beans

Chromium

  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Brewer’s Yeast
  • Oysters
  • Whole Grains
  • Potatoes
  • Beer
  • Wine

B6

  • Greens (Turnip Greens, Chard, Mustard Greens, Collards, Spinach)
  • Bell Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Cruciferous Vegetables (Cauliflower, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts)
  • Tomatoes
  • Poultry
  • Cantaloupe
  • Pineapple
  • Venison

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple


Contributed by Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper.

Daisy Luther
The Organic Prepper

One oft-overlooked factor in survival is fitness. How many preppers do you know who rest on laurels of athletic prowess back in their 20s? Whose idea of exercise is getting up to go to the refrigerator, lobbing a crumpled can to the garbage can? Who talk the talk, but never walk the walk, especially if it consists of walking that walk in inclement weather?

In many different survival situations, your personal fitness level can mean the difference between life and death. We’ve already talked about maintaining and achieving a healthy body weight – now let’s talk about being fit.

A prepper’s forte is playing “what if” so let’s play that game right now and look at some examples where being able to move quickly for a long time, possibly in adverse conditions, would be vital.

  • Bug out. Perhaps martial law  has been instituted, house-to-house searches are occurring, and vehicle checkpoints are everywhere, so you and your family have no choice but to set out on foot, through the backcountry. With a 40 pound bug out bag strapped to your back. Carrying a toddler. Over mountains.
  • Car crash. Maybe you are returning home after a visit with family. You are, of course, on the most isolated road known to man, in the middle of the night, when your vehicle goes into a skid, takes out the railing and tumbles down a mountain. Miraculously, you survive, but then you realize that no one can see your car. You have no choice but to wiggle out through the window, climb that darned mountain, and walk for help.
  • Kidnapped. Somehow, you’ve been kidnapped and taken to a cabin someplace deep in the forest. Through a stroke of luck, you escape the cabin, and begin to hie off through the woods, but your kidnappers aren’t far behind. In this situation, the person in the best physical condition wins. Whoever can run for the longest, wins.
  • EMP. An EMP strike or solar flare has taken out the grid, as well as all the vehicles. If you want to get anyplace other than where you are, it is most likely that you will have to walk. If, for example, you’re at work, you are going to have to trek your way home to be with your family. Whatever the distance, whatever the terrain, you better start walking now.

These examples, of course, are what happens immediately, when you must escape something. What about those long days after the initial disaster, ones of plowing fields, chopping wood, and lugging water?

As a prepper, your personal health and fitness level can be your most valuable asset. Just as important as tools, weapons and plans, your ability to simply move your body for a long time without stopping can be the difference between life and death.

And it all starts with walking.

Just Walk

Of course, there are many components to fitness and eventually we will talk about all of those. But the best place to start is to lace up your sneakers and walk.

(This is where I tell you, as I am legally bound to do, that you should seek the advice of your physician before starting this or any other exercise program.)

When people start a walking program, they tend to make one of two mistakes.

1.) They push themselves way too hard and end up getting so sore on the very first day that they are virtually crippled from Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

2.) They don’t push themselves hard enough and stop the  second they begin to feel out of breath.

Your starting point depends on your current fitness level, of course, but that can be hard to judge if you have been moving from sitting on your rear at your desk at the office over to sit on your rear on the sofa at your house. So I generally recommend that you start with 30 minutes.

If you are truly sedentary, don’t kill yourself by trying to set a rapid pace for your 30 minute walk. You should walk at a very comfortable pace for at least 5 minutes to warm up your body. Then, speed up to the point that speaking is possible but not super-easy. Your heart rate should be elevated enough that your speech is limited to short bursts of words, not Shakespearean monologues. If you get to the point that you can only gasp out a word at a time, you are pushing yourself too hard, and you need to slow down.

If you need to slow down, that doesn’t mean stop! Keep going, just at a slow, easy pace. This is you, building your endurance. Unless you are having the symptoms of an actual heart attack (extreme shortness of breath, faintness, dizziness, pain down one arm, etc) keep moving at a slow pace as you catch your breath.

About 5 minutes before your walk is over, drop back your pace a little to cool down.

As you become more fit, you can make things more difficult and more akin to survival situations. You can add hills, obstacles, increase your speed, carry a loaded pack, or walk for longer to add to the challenge.

Motivation

Some things that help:

  • A dog. My dog would walk FOR-E-VER!  Walking a dog is a great way to keep motivated and will result in not only a healthier you, but a healthier and better-behaved pet too.
  • A buddy. A walking buddy will help you maintain a pace. As well, we are much less likely to cancel our walk if a friend is going to be let down when we don’t show up.
  • Tunes. My Ipod full of headbanging rock is my favorite piece of workout equipment. I opt for music with a beat that mimics the pace I want to keep. I like energetic, heavy driving music to keep me motivated. Make a playlist of whatever inspires you to move quickly. Sometimes I’ll walk a little further just because there is a really great song on. I save the Ipod for walks, making it a special treat.

Safety note: I recommend only using one headphone. Whether you are in the city or out in the woods, like me, wearing two headphones and making yourself deaf is the equivalent of wearing a “Prey” t-shirt. It’s important to always be aware of your surroundings.

Remember that you can have all of the preps in the world, but if you can’t walk far enough to get to them, they will do you no good whatsoever. In fact, they’ll feed the next guy, you know, the one who’s out there pounding the pavement every day! He is in shape enough to get to them.

Your physical stamina can mean the difference between life and death, not only for you, but for those who depend on you. Just get out there and walk and within a month, you will see that your 30 minute walk takes you a lot further than it did when you began.

Excuses

And a word about excuses. Okay, a few words, because there are oh-so-many excuses.

Unless I am going to be struck by lightening or die of hypothermia because I’ve gotten soaked in sub-zero temperatures, I walk. There are many days that I look out the window at the gray skies and think, oh, man, I don’t want to walk today! But I do it any way. Why?

Because, if you are a prepper, you are training for life. You are training for events that happen at the most inopportune times. Rarely does a disaster conveniently time itself on a sunny day of moderate temperatures. Nope, if you have to hike away from a car accident, it likely happened because of ice or rain on the roads. You will be hiking away from it through the pouring rain. If a crime has been perpetrated on you, and you must flee, are you going to take your chance when it presents itself, or will you say, “Yeah, it’s raining, dude. I’m just gonna hang out with this serial killer until it clears up.”

You aren’t made of sugar. You aren’t going to melt. Just walk.

And yes, you do have time. Unless you are moving from the moment you get up in the morning until the moment you go to bed, you can find 30 minutes to go for a walk. Trust me, after you get used to it, your body will crave it and you’ll feel so much better! If you really truly are that busy, break your walk up into two 15 minute walks, or even 3 ten minute walks. There really are very few days that you can’t take 30 minutes from your day to do something wonderful and potentially life-saving.

You’re sick? Are you really, truly sick? If you are, you’re right. You should stay home, tucked under the covers. But if you have a bit of a headache, low energy, some female problems, or just general lethargy, you may be surprised at how much better you feel after a bit of exercise and fresh air. Exercise is nature’s anti-depressant and sometimes those minor aches and pains are related to mood more than they are actual physical maladies.

You don’t have to start with a Marine Corp Mud Run. You see all those big buff dudes running down the road in fatigues, carrying an 80 lb. pack? Let ‘em run! You, my friend, are just going to walk today. You are going to get started and you are going to find your own path to fitness. This isn’t about comparing yourself to those who are more fit or more strong than you. Everyone is not capable of doing what an Ironman Triathlete does but just about everyone is capable of more than they are doing right now. If you challenge yourself, you might just be amazed at what you can do once you’ve built a base of fitness.

Get Started

Today. Right now. If it’s the middle of the night when you’re reading this, then you can wait until tomorrow. But remember that the sooner you start, the sooner you are ready to face survival challenges head on. You, keeling over from a heart attack while you bug out, will be one less thing that you (and those with you) have to worry about.

Getting into better shape is something you will never regret. Even if you never need to be more fit because of a survival situation, you still get all the health and well-being benefits from doing it. Your body and those who love you will thank you!

“I got fit and I never even had to escape from a deranged stalker!

What a waste of time!”

said no one, ever.

 

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple


Contributed by Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper.

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Because you can never have too many laws, regulations and mandates, Massachusetts State Representative David Linsky has filed a new bill that would, among other things, force gun owners to undergo mental health background checks, acquire liability insurance, pay an additional 25% tax on all forms of ammunition, and require firearms categorized as “assault weapons” to be stored outside of their homes and only at government approved storage depots.

“This bill is a comprehensive effort to reduce all types of gun violence – murders, intentional shootings, accidental shootings and suicides.  There is not one solution to reducing gun violence – we can’t eliminate it – but there are a lot of common-sense steps that we can take to significantly reduce the everyday tragedy of gun violence and deaths,” said Linsky.

“I have spoken with hundreds of people over the past few weeks in developing this legislation – victims, police officers, criminologists, physicians, and yes – gun owners and sportsmen,” stated Linsky. “There are a lot of good ideas out there. We should all have one goal – reducing gun violence and trying to keep more tragedies from happening.”

Provisions in the bill include:

  • Having one standard of the issuance of all gun licenses, giving local police chiefs the ability to evaluate all aspects of an application for a gun license.
  • Requires proof of liability insurance for possession of a firearm, rifle or shotgun.
  • Requires that all large capacity weapons and grandfathered assault weapons must be stored at gun clubs or target ranges.
  • Requires live shooting as part of the curriculum for a basic firearms safety course; this is not a current requirement.
  • Requires all applicants for gun licenses and FID cards to sign a waiver of mental health records for review to be destroyed after decision.
  • Imposes 25% sales tax on ammunition, firearms, shotguns, and rifles; dedicates funds towards firearms licensing, police training, mental health services, and victim’s services.
  •  Brings Massachusetts into compliance with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
  • Limits gun buyers to one firearm purchase per month.

Source: Natick Patch

Bills such as this one are being filed by irrationally driven anti-gunners all over the country.

They are targeting every aspect of firearms in an effort to first reduce ownership, and then to ultimately ban it altogether.

They’ll expand the definitions for mental health to include basic forms of stress and normal human mood fluctuations and designate these as mental health conditions that would disqualify you from owning a gun.

They’ll tax gun purchases and ammunition like they’ve done with cigarettes (tripling the cost over a decade) and require huge insurance premiums, making ownership unaffordable for most Americans.

They’ll track the sale and transfer of all firearms through registration, with unjust punishments for anyone engaging in black-market trading.

And, eventually, another crisis – likely one that purports to threaten the very security and stability of the government of the United States – will be used in an attempt institute a complete roundup of the majority of modern firearms.

A full out assault on the Second Amendment is underway.

Author: Mac Slavo www.SHTFplan.com

This article is brought to you by our friend Andrew J. Jackson over at Prepography ”The Art & Study of Self-Reliance”

The military has put a great deal of effort recently to helping service members build resilience because increased resilience or ‘resistance to stress’  makes it much easier for a person to ‘continue their mission’ or keep taking care of their family when danger, fear and discomfort intrude.  Resilience is important to preparedness as well.  Here are Prepography’s Top 10 Tips to Build Resilience to Stress:

Focus on Your Goal or Mission:  By keeping the end in mind you can work through the adversities necessary to get there.

Develop a Community of Support:  A community that you are comfortable asking for help but often don’t have to ask.

Remain Optimistic:  No matter how bad things get…know that they will get better.  General Colin Powell said that “optimism is a force multiplier.”

Anticipate Change:  By building a mental model that anticipates change and potential outcomes you will be able to better react when faced with change.

Be Proactive:  The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared” for good reasons.  By anticipating future needs and taking steps now to make life easier then you will smooth the transition and better handle change.

Increased Levels of Physical Fitness:  Keeping physically fit makes your body and mind better able to deal with stress and reduces the likelihood or the severity of health issues.

Focus on Your Health: In addition to increasing your physical fitness you should try to reduce or eliminate any addictions and maintain a healthy weight with good eating habits.  Healthy habits can eliminate or mitigate many of the diseases of excess that we currently experience in our country including diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, gout, and obesity.  Also, get plenty of sleep in the good times and have a sleep plan so that you can get adequate sleep in bad times.

Circles of Concern & InfluenceDon’t Tilt at Windmills:  While many of life’s frustrations and issues may be within your Circle of Concern, focus only on those within your smaller, Circle of Influence.  Tilting at windmills (issues outside your Circle of Influence) will only benefit your doctor…who you will have to go see for that high blood pressure.  There’s enough to worry about within your Circle of Influence and you can actually affect outcomes there.

Commit to Lifelong Learning:  I remember my grandparents doing crossword puzzles every morning to exercise their minds.  Exercise your mind by committing to a lifetime of learning.  Three categories of learning in particular will increase your resilience:

  1. Things you Enjoy:  Learn things that will improve your quality of life.
  2. Professional Development:  Enhance your job security, professional growth and your ability to earn a living.  Financial security builds resilience when things are good and helps you develop your preps for when they aren’t.
  3. Preparedness:  If nothing else you will sleep better at night knowing you have taken the steps necessary improve your family’s preparedness.

Challenge Yourself: Don’t always take the easy way.  Set challenging goals for yourself, work hard to achieve them, then celebrate your successes and learn from your failures.